Tone of voice / Organisation-wide tone of voice

tone of voice

This approach is for you if you:

  • Want everyone in your organisation to be able to communicate in a brand-aligned way
  • Want to improve communications skills across the board
  • Have lengthy and/or complex sign-off processes, possibly involving regulatory considerations
  • Want to use language as a means of changing culture and thinking, as well as improving communications
  • Already have – or are prepared to put in place – metrics to evaluate the impact of a new approach to communications
  • Are prepared to create a cross-departmental working group to input into the creation and maintenance of a tone of voice
  • Are prepared to invest in training your teams
  • Recognise that rolling out a tone of voice is a programme – and maintaining it requires regular maintenance

What we do

To create an organisation or company-wide tone of voice, we audit your existing communications, interview stakeholders and immerse ourselves in your brand and your business.

We may also recommend – and assist with – setting up a steering or working group to make sure all your organisation’s teams are represented and included in the programme.

We then produce a report – setting out the state of your current communications, where we believe any weak points to be and how we recommend moving forward.

Our next task is to create the tone of voice itself, alongside multiple examples of it in use across your organisation. We develop this with you in stages, working in your feedback and kicking its tyres until we know it works in all situations.

We then start two strands of work:

1) Creating a campaign approach to getting people interested in the tone of voice work across your organisation
2) Identifying priority groups for training

Then we create a bespoke training workshop for your organisation – and further tailor each session to make sure the examples we use are relevant for the people invited to it. We gather feedback from each session and take this back to the working group, making any adjustments and additions to the master guidelines as we go along, as well as highlighting any process issues that are acting as a barrier to adoption.

We will either create, or support your teams to create, a library of exemplar communications in the new tone of voice. We can also hold “surgeries” to support individual members of your teams as they begin to use the new language. It’s also useful to hold awareness sessions, so that people who don’t need to learn to write differently – but who may be involved in sign-off, or have a general interest – can see what’s happening and why, and what’s expected of them.

Then, at an agreed point in the roll-out, we will also begin to identify and train in-house trainers to help your tone of voice becomes sustainable.

We can also develop specialist training for particular functions – like legal and customer service. We help you to incorporate your tone of voice into performance and appraisal measures.

What you get

  • A full report and recommendations
  • Guidelines of up to 50 pages, including examples from across the organisation
  • Bespoke training workshops
  • Follow-up support and reporting
  • Specialist training and training in different formats
  • Awareness sessions and surgeries
  • Consistent, actionable feedback
  • Any additions and adjustments to guidelines
  • Train the trainer sessions and materials

Circumstances this approach is useful in

  • A wholesale rebrand or repositioning of your organisation
  • You have a large group of people and you need them to a) understand the brand they’re a part of – and understand their role in delivering it, b) communicate in ways that align with the brand, c) think in ways that help to deliver your brand and purpose
  • It’s especially useful in B2B and professional services organisations – as well as organisations with complex and/or regulated offers

Circumstances this approach isn’t suitable for

  • If you only want some nice, happy language to pop on some packaging, this is probably overkill

Not sure if this approach is suitable for you? Give us a call and we can help you decide what you need.

I think Liz is a true subject matter expert. In my fifteen years in advertising I had never met an individual so dedicated to a single area, nor so determined to understand and express every nuance of brand personality through tone of voice, nor so willing to work in a flexible, collaborative style.

Sarah Wyse Head of Marketing Strategy, Coutts